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THE CONSPIRACY OF ORGETORLX- 
A DRAMATIZATION 



By Brita L. Hornek 
Weehawken, New Jersey 



One of the most successful means of arousing interest this year 
has been the dramatization of the story of Orgetorix in Book I of 
the Gallic Wars. A class which had found much pleasure in 
first-year Latin seemed to be entirely lacking in enthusiasm for 
their second-year work. They read Book II of the Gallic Wars with 
but little interest, even though frequent comparisons were made 
with the great world-war of today. It seemed necessary to do 
something to arouse them from this state of indifference. Dram- 
atization therefore was tried, and the results were exceedingly 
gratifying. 

The first readings were given as the chapters were translated. 
Then a regular cast was chosen, and the whole play (four scenes) 
was presented before another section, which had just completed the 
same work in Caesar. The performance was such a success that 
it was repeated before the entire school. No costumes were 
attempted except swords, shields, and spears for the soldiers. 
These, however, appealed greatly to the audience. 

Since the dramatization the reading of Caesar has been an 
entirely different thing for the particular class which gave the play. 
Caesar's Commentaries have a real meaning for them now, and 
they no longer translate mere words. Other classes also were 
benefited and an increase of interest and enthusiasm for Latin has 
been felt throughout the school. 

INTRODUCTORY SYNOPSIS 

(Read before audience, part of whom had not studied Latin.) 
Caesar tells us that a short time before his arrival in Gaul the Helvetians 
who lived in the land which is now Switzerland had become discontented 
with their narrow limits. An ambitious young noble, Orgetorix by name, 

61 



62 THE CLASSICAL JOURNAL 

conceived the idea of emigrating to other territory and formed a plot to over- 
throw the regular government in order to carry out his idea. News of his 
scheme, however, reached the ears of the rulers of the state, and he was sum- 
moned to appear for a trial. By means of a trick, the bringing of a huge mob 
of his friends and followers to court with him, he prevented the regular legal 
procedure and escaped from pleading his case. He probably realized, however, 
that his cause was a hopeless one, as he was shortly afterward found dead, and 
the general opinion seemed to be that he had committed suicide. 

(Read before various scenes.) 

i. In our play the first scene represents Orgetorix persuading three other 
Helvetians to enter into his conspiracy. He describes the way in which they 
are hemmed in on all sides and urges them to emigrate. 

2. In the second scene the three Helvetians discuss their preparations for 
the departure. They decide to buy up animals and carts, to sow as much grain 
as possible, and to emigrate on the third year. 

3. In the third scene Orgetorix persuades Casticus and Dumnorix, nobles 
of neighboring states, to join his conspiracy. These three young nobles hope 
to gain control of all of Gaul. 

4. The fourth scene represents the trial of Orgetorix and his escape through 
the aid of a great crowd of clients, debtors, and friends. 

The subsequent announcement of his sudden death brings an end to the 
conspiracy. 

CONIURATIO ORGETORIGIS 

Scaena Prima 

(Enter Orgetorix and three Helvetians) 

Orgetorix: Orgetorix sum, nobilissimus et ditissimus Helvetiorum. 

Helvetius (1): Helvetii sumus, nobilitas Helvetiorum. 

Orgetorix: Audite, O Helvetii, O nobiles Helvetii! Pro multitudine 
hominum et pro gloria belli atque fortitudinis angustos finis habemus. 

Helvetius (2) : Verum est, angustos finis habemus. 

Orgetorix: Undique loci natura Helvetii continentur, una ex parte flumine 
Rheno, latissimo atque altissimo; altera ex parte monte Iura, altissimo, qui 
est inter Sequanos et Helvetios; tertia, lacu Lemanno et flumine Rhodano, 
qui provinciam Romanam ab Helvetiis dividit. Undique, undique Helvetii 
continentur. 

Helvetius (3) : Verum est, undique continemur. Ita continemur ut minus 
late vagemur et minus facile finitimis bellum inferre possimus. 

Orgetorix: Qua ex parte, O Helvetii, ego, vir bellandi cupidus, magno 
dolore adficior. Ego cupio ut de finibus nostris exeamus. 

Helvetius (2) : Bene dbristi, Orgetorix. De finibus nostris exeamus. 

H elvetius (1 and 3) : Exeamus! exeamus! 



THE CONSPIRACY OF ORGETORIX 63 

Orgetorix: Virtute, nobiles, nos omnibus praestamus. Igitur perfacile 
est totius Galliae imperio potiri. 

Helvetius: Bene! bene! Orgetorix dixit bene. Imperio totius Galliae 
potiemur. De finibus nostris exeamus. 

Omnes: Exeamus! 

(Exeunt omnes.) 

SCAENA SeCUNDA 

(Enter the three Helvetians) 

Helvetius (2) : Orgetorix bene dixit. Vir fortissimus est. 

Helvetius (3): Orgetorix quoque sapientissimus est; verum est, angustos 
finis habemus. 

Helvetius (1) : Potentissimus est Orgetorix. Auctoritas eius est maxima. 

Helvetius (3): Orgetorix dixit oportere ea quae ad proficiscendum per- 
tinerent comparare. 

Helvetius (2): Ego iumentorum et carrorum quam maximum numerum 
coemi. 

Helvetius (1): Ego quoque. 

Helvetius (2) : Sementis quam maximas servi mei faciunt. 

Helvetius (1 and 3) : Nostri servi quoque. 

Helvetius (1) : Quo tempore proficiscemur ? 

Helvetius (3) : Ad eas res conficiendas biennium satis est. 

Helvetius (1): Bene dixisti. Biennium satis est. In tertium annum 
profectionem lege confirmemus. 

Helvetius (2) : Ubi est Orgetorix ? 

Helvetius (1) : Necesse est cum proximis civitatibus pacem et amicitiam 
confirmare. Orgetorix sibi legationem ad civitates suscepit. 

Helvetius (2): Bene factum est. Nos quoque laboremus ut omnia quae 
ad proficiscendum pertineant comparemus. 

Helvetius (2): Bene dixisti. Laboremus! 

Omnes: Laboremus! Laboremus! 

(Exeunt omnes.) 

SCAENA TERTIA 

(Enter Casticus.) 
Casticus: Casticus sum, Catamantaloedis filius, Sequanus. 

(Enter Orgetorix.) 
Orgetorix: Salve! O Castice! 
Casticus: Salve Orgetorix, nobilissimus Helvetiorum. 
Orgetorix: Tu quoque nobilis es, O Castice, pater tuus regnum in Sequanos 
multos annos obtinuit; pater tuus a senatu populi Romani amicus appella- 
tus est. 



64 THE CLASSICAL JOURNAL 

Casticus: Omnia haec scio, Orgetorix. 

Orgetorix: Cur tu in civitate tua regnum non occupavisti ? 

Casticus: Regnum in mea civitate occupare difficile est, Orgetorix. 

Orgetorix: Non difficile est — est perfacile factu. Ego meae civitatis 
imperium obtenturus sum. Ego meis copiis meoque exercitu tibi regnum 
in tua civitate conciliabo. 

{Enter Dumnorix.) 

Dumnorix: Salve! O Castice! 

Casticus: Salve! O Dumnorix! 

Orgetorix: Quis advenit ? 

Casticus: Est Dumnorix, Haeduus, frater Divicaci. 

Orgetorix: Salve! Dumnorix! 

Dumnorix: Salve Orgetorix! 

Orgetorix: Nonne tu in civitate tua principatum obtines, O Dumnorix ? 

Dumnorix: Verum est principatum obtineo sed non regnum. 

Orgetorix: Cur non regnum occupavisti ? 

Dumnorix: Regnum in mea civitate occupare difficile est. Frater meus, 
Diviciacus potentissimus est. 

Orgetorix: Non difficile est. Tu maxime plebi acceptus es. Ego et 

Casticus regna in civitatibus nostris occupabimus et nos regnum tibi conciliabi- 

mus. Praeterea, Dumnorix, filiam habeo — filiam pulcherrimam. Si te 

nobiscum coniunges, tibi filiam meam in matrimonium dabo. Adveni, filia 

mea. 

{Enter Filia.) 

Dumnorix: Pulcherrima est. Visne mecum ire, puella ? 

Filia: Quod pater vult, ego volo. 

Dumnorix: Bene est. Filiam tuam in matrimonium ducam et me 

vobiscum coniungam. 

Orgetorix: Bene! Bene! Fidem et ius iurandum inter nos demus. 

Omnes: Ius iurandum demus. 

{Exeunt omnes.) 

SCAENA QUARTA 

{Enter Magistratus, with two soldiers and a messenger. Magistratus stands in 

front of his chair of office, the soldiers stand in position, one on each side 
of the chair, and the messenger at a little distance.) 

Magistratus: Magistratus Helvetiorum sum. Hi sunt milites. IUe est 
nuntius. 

{Magistratus seats himself. Enter Index, makes obeisance.) 

Index: Salve, O magistratus! Mquid tibi dicere volo. 

Magistratus: Quid est ? 

Index: Orgetorix, nobilissimus et ditissimus Helvetiorum coniurationem 
fecit. 



THE CONSPIRACY OF ORGETORIX 65 

Magistratus: Orgetorix coniurationem fecit ? 
Index: Verum est, Orgetorix coniurationem fecit. 

(Exit Index.) 

Magistratus: Propera, O nuntie, et Orgetorigem ad iudicium venire iube. 

(Exit Nuntius) 

Magistratus: Moribus nostris Orgetorigem ex vinculis causam dicere 
cogemus. Si Orgetorix damnatus erit oportebit ut igni cremetur. 

(Enter Nuntius) 

Nuntius: Orgetorix venit. 

(Enter Orgetorix, with his mob of clients, debtors, friends, etc. The crowd shouts: 

"Orgetorix bonus est. Non coniurationem fecit. Non malus est. 

Bonus est Orgetorix," etc. Orgetorix slips out.) 

Magistratus: Discedite, discedite omnes. 

(The crowd departs still shouting.) 

Magistratus: Non possumus iudicium habere. Orgetorix ne causam 
diceret se eripuit. Nunc, O milites, exite et multitudinem hominum ex agris 
convocate. Ius civitatis armis exsequendum est. 

(Exeunt milites. Enter Index excitedly.) 

Index: Salve, O magistratus! Aliquid tibi dicere volo. Orgetorix 
mortuus est. 

Magistratus: Estne verum ? 

Index: Verum est. Orgetorix mortuus est, et Helvetii arbitrantur eum 
sibi mortem conscivisse. 

(Exit Index) 

Magistratus: miserum Orgetorigem Finis est coniurationis.